In recognition of the national “No Text on Board Pledge Day,” today Puerto Rico government officials joined forces with wireless provider AT&T to put the brakes on a dangerous practice that puts millions of people at risk: texting while driving.
At an event held at Plaza Las Américas Wednesday morning to mark AT&T’s “No Text on Board Pledge Day,” a group of participants including company employees, public officials and volunteers pledged to make a lifelong commitment to never text and drive again and to do their part in spreading the word and urging others to take the pledge.
“A text can wait. This message can’t,” said Ray Flores, regional vice president for AT&T.
“In the United States, someone is killed or injured once every five minutes on average in a crash that happens while a driver is texting and driving,” he said, citing National Safety Council statistics.
AT&T announced plans for No Text on Board Pledge Day last month, launching a national ad campaign during the Olympics sharing personal stories of those whose lives were impacted by a texting-while-driving crash. A new round of ads will begin airing after Wednesday’s pledge.
Locally, AT&T’s efforts are getting public support from the Puerto Rico Highway Safety Commission, which by law is required to join with public and private organizations on public awareness initiatives to promote responsible driving.
“This agency supports the ‘It Can Wait’ initiative because of our focus on promoting awareness in our society about safety on our highways. We’re all responsible for making our roads a safer place,” Zoriemy Rivera Hernández, the agency’s executive director, said.
AT&T’s efforts also respond to a mandate that will take effect in January 2013 banning using mobile phones while driving on island roads, unless the caller uses a hands-free accessory.
The wireless carrier is also getting support to spread its message from island mayors grouped under the Mayor’s Federation and the Association of Mayors, which on Wednesday passed separate decrees acknowledging the Sept. 19th national effort to put the brakes on texting while at the wheel.